All Creatures Pet Hospital

902 West Kearney Street
Springfield, MO 65803


Puppies 10 to 12 Weeks of Age

Spaying and Neutering

Spaying or neutering your pet at or before six months of age is important for many reasons. Behavioral problems are much less common in neutered animals and it reducing the risk of developing certain diseases later in life.

Male Dogs

Neutering is the surgical removal of both testes. The beneficial effects that are seen following this procedure are directly related to reduction in levels of the male hormone, testosterone. A reduced level of this hormone affects many behaviors. Neutering male dogs has been shown to reduce the percentage of dogs that bite, roam, urine mark and exhibit overly territorial behaviors. Neutering is much more effective at preventing these behaviors than it is in eliminating them once they have begun. It is for this reason that it is advised to have this procedure performed before six months of age.

In addition neutering has some beneficial effects on health. Beyond the age of seven, enlargement of the prostate gland can occur and result in difficult or painful urination. This enlargement is caused in large part by the hormone testosterone. Since neutering reduces the levels of this hormone, prostate enlargement is very uncommon in older neutered male dogs.

Female Dogs

Spaying is the common name for ovariohysterectomy. This procedure is the complete removal of both the ovaries and the uterus. This eliminates a female dog from having heat cycles, which occur roughly every 6 months. Pet owners usually notice this cycle by swelling of the vulva and spotting of a blood tinged fluid. It is shortly after this spotting that the female dog becomes receptive to breeding. One in five unspayed female dogs will become pregnant unintentionally at some point during their life.

Spaying at an early age (at or before six months of age) has numerous health benefits in female dogs. The development of breast cancer is relatively common in older female dogs. Research has shown that if a female dog is spayed before her first heat cycle, which usually occurs at 6 to 10 months of age, her chance of developing this type of cancer is greatly reduced in later years. Pyometra is another serious medical condition that occurs in older unspayed females. It is a condition in which the uterus fills with infection and enlarges to many times its normal size. As the female dog ages, her cycles often become irregular. This can lead to the cervix remaining open and allowing infection inside the uterus. The toxic principles released by this infection often lead to this life threatening disease. Spaying early in life is preventative and is our recommendation for all dogs not intended for breeding purposes.

Early Training

Training your friend can be divided into two distinct parts, socialization and obedience training. Socialization of your puppy is the first step and is critical at this age. Puppies are most impressionable during the stage of 5 to 16 weeks of age. Socialization is nothing more than exposing the puppy to all the things that he will be exposed to later in life so that he may begin to become comfortable with these things. Introduction to things that may be new (interacting with your family, people outside your family, locations outside the home, vehicles and any other thing that may potentially frighten your pet) will help him accept them more readily when he is older. Allow your puppy to watch these things from a distance, give a treat and praise, and then slowly lead him closer as his comfort level increases. This will help your puppy become a well-adjusted, confident companion and lay the groundwork for the next phase of training.

Obedience training is teaching your dog basic commands that will help him to be more easily controlled, as well as a better companion and family member. We believe that "no", "come", "sit", "stay" and teaching your dog to accept a leash are the "basic equipment" needed. These commands will cover 90% of day-to-day situations. We recommend pet owners attend obedience classes. These classes provide professional advice on ways to speed training, allow for a safe environment for socialization, they teach your pet to work with distractions, and help you achieve your weekly goals. Once your pet has mastered these commands many other things can be added to your puppies training.